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How to Make Magic Sand at Home

Deepa Karandikar
Magic sand is an intriguing item that can be demonstrated to children by adults. It can be made at home by waterproofing colored sand. We shall tell you just how to make magic sand at home by yourself.
Magic sand was meant to counter oil spills that occurred in the sea from oil rigs. If it is sprinkled on oil floating on the surface of water, the mixture of sand and oil becomes heavy enough to sink.
Magic sand is magical because it just does not get wet when put in water. It forms beautiful patterns of layers in the water, unlike normal sand that sinks to the bottom of the surface. When magic sand is removed from water, it comes out completely dry!
Here, we give you the procedure to make magic sand at home. We recommend parents or other elders at home to try the following procedure for kids. Kids will enjoy playing with this magic sand. However, utmost care should be taken that the kids do not put it in their mouth. That's why we suggest that kids should play with magic sand under adult supervision.

Homemade Magic Sand Recipe

  • Colored sand
  • Fabric protector spray or waterproofing spray (like Scotchgard)
  • Glossy paper like butter paper or baking paper, or even tin foil or sandpaper
  • Small plastic bottles or containers
  • Water
(Note: Perform this procedure in the sun or in a room with enough light and air)

♠ Over a glossy paper or sandpaper, spread the colored sand.

♠ Apply the fabric protector spray or waterproofing spray all over, until the sand granules become moist. When using Scotchgard, as a safety precaution, use it in a well ventilated place and avoid inhaling it.
♠ In order to ensure that the sand granules in the inside of the heap are also covered with the spray, skim through it, shuffle all the granules, and repeat the process of spraying.

♠ You can also put the sand in a bottle, pour the waterproofing liquid, and then shake the bottle.

♠ Allow the sand to dry.
♠ After the sand has dried up, neatly place it into different bottles and containers.

♠ When you wish to play with it, just pour the magic sand into a transparent bowl of water, and show the kids how it forms beautiful patterns underwater.

Since you require colored sand to make magic sand, we also give you the procedure to make colored sand.

How to Make Colored Sand

  • Sand
  • Food coloring agents
  • Bowl
  • Plastic container

Place the sand into a bowl.

✜ Add the food coloring agents into the sand, and mix thoroughly until every sand granule is covered with color.

✜ Place the sand in the sun so that it dries up.

✜ Keep the sand in a plastic container, away from the reach of children.

Why magic sand does not get wet?

Sand is hydrophilic, i.e., water-liking substance. When water is poured on sand, it seeps into the heap of sand, unlike on a lotus leaf, where it forms a string of beads. However, this is not the case with magic sand. Magic sand is water-repellent! The reason behind this is the coating that is applied on it!
Researchers at the Cabot Corporation, Massachusetts, USA, developed magic sand. They devised a way in which an organohalosilicane compound trimethylchlorosilane [(CH3)3SiCl] or dimethyldichlorosilane, [(CH2)2SiCl2] can be reacted with sand or silica (chemical formula: SiO2).
The reaction results in the formation of a thin silicone monolayer film (CH3)2(OH)Si-O on the sand granule. When magic sand comes into contact with water, its granules repel water by clubbing together and not letting the water molecules bond with the hydrophobic end groups.
Thus, we can build structures with magic sand in water, and let them stand even when the water is removed, as there is an air gap between the sand granules and water.